Phoenix Suns owner threatens to relocate to Las Vegas

December 15, 2018

Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver is threatening to move his team to Las Vegas or Seattle if demands for publicly funded renovations for the Suns’ home building of Talking Stick Resort Arena aren’t approved by the city.

The City Council was scheduled to vote this afternoon to approve $150 million in funding for upgrades, but the vote was delayed until Jan. 23 so residents can attend public meetings discussing the project . It’s uncertain what upgrades Sarver is seeking.

“We very much look forward to publicly discussing the many ways in which Talking Stick Resort Arena benefits Downtown Phoenix and our community at large, and answering questions the Council and their constituents may have about the arena and proposed renovation,” said Jason Rowley, the Suns’ president, in a statement.

“Our priority remains being in downtown Phoenix long term, and we are excited about the opportunity that lies ahead.”

The Suns agreed to a 40-year lease in 1992, but the deal included a provision for the team to opt out at 30 years, the Associated Press reports. The arena is the oldest in the NBA not scheduled for renovations, the report continued.

Las Vegas would be a willing partner for the league, especially at T-Mobile Arena, which already hosts the Vegas Golden Knights and has all of the bells and whistles of a modern facility.

In May, MGM Resorts CEO Jim Murren said he expects the NBA to come to Las Vegas within five years. MGM already hosts the WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces at Mandalay Bay. And each summer, the NBA Summer League packs the Thomas & Mack Center and Cox Pavilion.

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